The Seed: Infertility is a Feminist Issue

Alexandra Kimball. Coach House, $13.95 trade paperback (149p) ISBN 978-1-55245-385-8
In this combination of well-reasoned argument and memoir, Toronto Life magazine editor Kimball calls out a fundamental lack of support from mainstream feminism for women facing infertility. She argues that feminists view the infertile woman’s desire for a child as a disavowal of perceived worthier goals, such as empowerment, careers, and financial independence. Kimball also suggests feminism has an “anti-maternal bias” in which motherhood is seen as “conscription into patriarchy” and thus the concerns of infertile women are inconsequential. She traces the history of the symbolic trope of the “evil” infertile woman, from ancient Babylonian demons and 15th-century beliefs about witchcraft to the depiction of the wives in The Handmaid’s Tale. Drawing from the works of Simone de Beauvoir, Susan Faludi, and Judith Butler, among others, Kimball notes repeatedly the cognitive dissonance inherent in supporting a woman’s reproductive rights when she’s abstaining from having children and silence or censure towards a woman making the opposite choice. Kimball also provides a window into the loneliness and isolation experienced as a result of her own infertility, being treated like “a worst-case scenario, [or] a personal nightmare” by other women and feeling a seemingly endless, unresolvable grief. Kimball’s text is both intimate and abstract—an intelligent academic investigation into an unusual element of inclusivity in feminism. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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